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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Cakewalk Pro Audio 8

  • 1999 13 Aug
Cakewalk Pro Audio 8
By Ralph Sappington, courtesy of {{Christian Musician}} Magazine

Since 1987 Cakewalk has been providing the PC user with cutting-edge sequencing software. I should know, I purchased the first version of Cakewalk to use with my 286-16mHz computer with its "huge" 20 meg hard drive that I synched to a Yamaha four track cassette recorder. Many demos were recorded with that set-up, but as my computers grew so did the features of each version of Cakewalk. In 1991 Cakewalk introduced the first music and sound product for Windows 3.1 and I happily upgraded my computer system. In 1995 Cakewalk brought us the first product to integrate Midi sequencing and digital recording. Back then I was still enamored with my analog reel to reel machines, but I loved the new features of Cakewalk Professional 6. Now once again Cakewalk is pushing me into a new world: digital recording.

First, let me fill you in on a few details you need to know if you are serious about digital recording. You need a fast computer (I chose a PII 450mHz with more RAM on the video card than my entire 286 hard drive had!). Next, you need lots of RAM. I loaded up with 386 megs. And you're going to need a really big hard drive, something like 19.6 Gigs might do the trick! Next, let's talk about your soundcard. The one you thought sounded great when you played Duke Nukem won't quite cut it for producing your next album. The top-end cards that ship with new computers will do a good job recording two tracks of digital audio, but you really want a multi-track card if you want professional results. I chose the Layla from Event; it's an 8 in/8 out card that records crystal-clear 20 bit digital audio. We'll look closer at the Layla in a future review.

Don't give up if you're not quite ready to take the plunge and invest in that kind of system. You don't need to be involved in digital recording to take advantage of Cakewalk Pro Audio 8. If you want to produce Midi tracks of your songs or print out lead sheets complete with lyrics, Cakewalk will do the job. You can slowly build your home studio knowing that your software will keep pace with every new module and piece of gear you add. If you have a Pentium 100 Mhz computer running Windows 95/98 with 16 MB RAM you're ready for Cakewalk.

If you have never sequenced before, the screen layouts on Cakewalk will make it as easy as using a cassette deck! You can view your music in staff notation form and quickly edit your tracks. If you are working with a stereo soundcard, you can use the professional console to record and mix your Midi and audio tracks down to two tracks. Cakewalk will record up to 128 tracks of audio along with Midi and add real-time audio and Midi effects processing. Automate your mix and watch the faders on the virtual console. Cakewalk will make you an internet music production studio by saving your Midi and audio files in RealMedia format for streaming on the net.

Cakewalk Pro Audio 8 is the choice software of music professionals for producing sound for CDs, film, video, games and the internet, and it's cost effective at $289. This software should be the choice of an aspiring musician like you.